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Come on PC Plod, smarten up

Quick, send for reinforcements. Mark Kerrison/In Pictures/Getty

Mark Rowley, the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has announced he wants Londoners to have a greater say in determining their “policing needs”. Well, says Mary Wakefield in The Spectator, “I have a long list of policing needs”. First, I’d like the men of the Met to shave. They all seem to have some sort of beard, which makes them appear shifty. “This is not a strong look, considering.” The force should also do away with online recruiting, which was introduced during Covid and never fully phased out. “If you’re in the business of finding decent, non-rapey officers, it’s clearly a good idea to look them in the eye.”

But most importantly, I’d like them to spread out. I sometimes encounter police vans, bumper to bumper, “full of officers just sitting, doing nothing, like large unhappy children on a school trip”. On Monday last week, it took about 30 officers to protect the Home Office from four amiable-looking animal rights activists “holding placards with photographs of beagles on them”. Why don’t those officers stand outside school gates instead? Recently, the headmistress of an Islington school near where I live published a “desperate open letter”, begging the local council to stop pupils being mugged at knifepoint on their way home. Maybe the Met really is too short-staffed to deal with things like this. But why, then, “do officers clump”?